BioteQ reports continued progress on acid mine drainage treatment projects
BioteQ Environmental Technologies recently updated progress in various projects and operations utilizing the company's patented BioSulphide process for water treatment and sulfide reagent production. The Vancouver-based environmental technology firm's process plants provide treatment of acid-contaminated mine water (to meet discharge water quality criteria) with concurrent recovery of saleable metals from the water. In addition, chemical-grade sulfide reagent can be produced on demand from BioteQ's process.
During the last quarter of 2004 BioteQ assumed operating responsibility for water treatment at Breakwater Resources' Caribou and Restigouche mine sites in New Brunswick. Both sites require collection and treatment of acidic mine drainage and management of sludge products. The company reports that it has made some minor changes to operating and safety procedures and has begun treatment plant upgrades, in co-operation with Breakwater subsidiary CanZinco, to ensure long-term reliability of the treatment plant. reliability in the longer term. Based on a 1,000-tonne test recovery operation completed last summer, detailed engineering is now in progress for plant modifications to be carried out before continuous tailings recovery operations begin; this is expected during 2005, at a planned rate of 50,000 tonnes per year.
BioteQ's plant at Falconbridge's Raglan mine in northern Quebec was shut down for the winter in November, as planned. The plant processed a total of 216,000 cubic metres of water during 2004, with nickel recovery averaging over 97%. The plant availability was lower than expected during 2004, and BioteQ says the reasons for this have been determined and addressed for 2005 operations. Work at the site is due to resume this month to carry out minor plant modifications, followed by operator training and plant re-start during April and May. The company will be adding staff at this location during 2005 to ensure operating reliability of the plant, which is scheduled to run between June and November.
The Bisbee project in Arizona, a joint venture between BioteQ and Phelps Dodge, was designed to recover copper from the drainage of a large low-grade stockpile. The company reports that this plant has improved in both reliability and performance, with copper production having increased significantly during the last quarter and into this year, reaching a maximum production level of 6,200 pounds per day during January. Total copper production for January was 134,496 pounds, slightly surpassing the projected level of 134,462 pounds. Plant availability averaged 94% during November, December and January and copper recovery averaged over 99% during the same period.
BioteQ and Phelps Dodge are currently considering changes to the low-grade stockpile operation to increase the flow and copper content of the acidic drainage and so further enhance the plant capacity and copper production. The partners are also exploring ways of making use of excess bioreactor capacity, possibly for the production of additional sulfide which could be sold to local clients and/or used for recovery of metals other than copper from the Bisbee acid drainage.
In developing projects, BioteQ is also working for Phelps Dodge to provide its technology for a water treatment plant in Blackwell, Oklahoma. This project is currently on schedule, with detailed engineering for the BioteQ plant complete and equipment procurement having been initiated. BioteQ expects to have the process modules built in time for plant commissioning in late 2005.
Finally, BioteQ is part of a team, led by Epcor Water Services, recently awarded a contract to construct and operate a water treatment plant to treat metal-laden acidic effluent at the Britannia mine site in British Columbia. BioteQ is providing process design review engineering for the primary treatment plant and a high-density sludge lime circuit. The firm is also evaluating application of its technology to augment the primary treatment plant in order to reduce or eliminate waste sludge production.
More information on BioteQ's technology and projects is available from president and CEO Brad Marchant, 604/685-1243, FAX 604/685-7778, Web site www.bioteq.ca.